THE TRAGIC CAREER OF JtfARY TODD jCINCOLN by Dr. Charles Stoltz H LINCOLN ROOM UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS LIBRARY MEMORIAL the Class of 1901 founded by HARLAN HOYT HORNER and HENRIETTA CALHOUN HORNER Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2012 with funding from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign http://archive.org/details/tragiccareerofmaOOstol The Tragic Career of ^Jvlary Todd Jjncoln r - «««—««.—.«*—.•«— -««- • «a»—»m(™»s»— «-.«». ™™,iiB«™»»»™™.>i»~.,™..iS2i«-«~tii(-™»8S«. 88ff<S^<nSsStf88tfiSsStfff®©j THE TRAGIC CAREER OF ^MARY TODD LINCOLN by T)r. Charles Stoltz Privately Printed The 'Rgund Table South ^Bend, Indiana 1931 €' V3> %i i €\ a/ 1 \X v w —t As the writer of this paper died between the date of its delivery and that of its publication, it has been thought proper to depart from the usual form in which Round Table papers are published, and to in- clude a picture and short appreci- ation of the author. S&fe^2^^^ &jfl<KSiJUs4 hxup 'Born, January 17, 1864 T)ied, August 5, 1931 tfS^tfSsStftnSsgtftfSStftfSsgU) ^An ^Appreciation Charles Stoltz was a native of this county. His an- cestors, while of German origin, came from Alsace-Lor- raine and for a time lived in France. All of Dr. Stoltz's sympathies and traditions were French, and something of his Gallic background was noticeable in his mannerisms and personality. Essentially, he was typical American, with inherent love of freedom, independence, with a fine flair for discriminat- ing justice, and an unfailing sense of humor. His lifes story is almost a duplication of that of most of the successful men of his generation. He had to ma\e his way by his own efforts. He was teacher and principal in the public schools, attended Valparaiso University two years, Indiana University one year, where he became the lifelong friend of David Starr Jordan, then through the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Chicago. All this education accomplished by unceasing labor and privation. Dr. Stoltz had a natural and strongly developed interest in science and advocated the study of pure science regard- less of its immediate practical value. His next strongest in- terest was history. He acquired a vast store of historical \nowledge and, owing to his remar\able memory, this \now ledge remained immediately available until his death. He devoted much time to the history of Indiana, and if a question arose as, for instance, why South Bend came to be in Indiana instead of Michigan, where its site was originally located, Dr. Stoltz could furnish carefully com' piled information. In larger matters his historical \now ledge was as broad and accurate. Few men were better informed on the life and charac ter of Lincoln and he possessed one of the finest Lincoln libraries in the West. His research in this field led him to spend his final days, at a time when his sight had all but gone, in preparing the paper which follows, for he had come to believe that Mary Todd Lincoln had been greatly misunderstood and maligned. Dr. Stoltz in appearance and character was an unique personality. He had in mar\ed degree the main elements of greatness, — courage, simplicity, and sincerity. His sixty seven years were filled with hard wor\, high thin\ing, and \indly and helpful interest in his fellow man. U. G. Manning. It was the intention of the au- thor to accredit various writers with the quotations and items of fact which he used from their wor\s to substantiate his thesis which emphasizes the fine culture and education in the early life of both Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. These individual acknowledg- ments were made impossible by reason of his untimely death. The publishers desire to ma\e this \nown to those readers who are interested in the treatment of this subject, and to those writers to whom these courtesies are due. f( I am a man, and everything human interests me. " <^^>3 <nS?S^ 6<2?5i3 e^XiS ■ ■ <,■ ■,;■■ .,,..,.., ..... .... ,.,..,. ...... .,., ^Argument "Lady of Lincoln, They wreathed her head With thorns when living, With nettles though dead." Marion Mills Miller * * * "The world will never \now the full extent of its in' debtedness to Mary Todd Lincoln for what Abraham Lin- coln was, and for what he was permitted to accomplish." * * * Ervin Chapin. "I wish my readers could have \nown this woman as it was my good fortune to \now her in the prime of her life, and could understand her devoted ambition for, and the inspiration she was to Abraham Lincoln in all the days of their Springfield literary, financial, and political strug' les." Henry S. Rankin. * * * "It may have been that gentle Ann Rutledge, or portly, complacent Mary Owens, or youthful, light-hearted Sarah Ric\ard, could have endowed the tall Sycamore of the Sangamon with richer measure of marital bliss, but never did a young wife bring to a husband, interested in state- craft and anxious for preferment, such a wealth of first- hand information on a grave, moral and political asso- ciation with great men of her day, as did Mary Todd to Abraham Lincoln." ._ . TT _ William n. Townsend. CTS^(nS^tf<S5Sis<nSsS3(nS5©5 The Tragic Career of ^JViary Todd Xjncoln A century has elapsed since the youthful Abraham Lincoln entered politics. It was in the early spring of 1832. He had just attained the age of twenty 'three. He had been in his newly adopted state barely two years when he aspired to become a member of its legislature, expressing his ambition in that perfectly written epistle ending naively, — "If the voters elect me they will have conferred a favor upon me for which I shall be un- remitting in my labors to compensate. But if the good people in their wisdom should see fit to keep me in the background, I have been too familiar with disappointments to be very much chagrinned." The Black Hawk War interrupted his election- eering. He enlisted and was elected captain of his company. The Indian uprising proved a wide- spread scare, but hardly bloody. Chief Black Hawk was captured in Wisconsin, marched off to Washington in irons — had a long 16 The Tragic Career of satisfactory powwow with the Great Father, An- drew Jackson, and lived warless "ever after." Captain Lincoln walked home. Not only had his horse been stolen, but on account of his absence from the hustings, he suffered defeat for the legis- lature. Thus his public career began with war and was destined to end with war — for, twenty-nine years later he was himself to become the Great Father at Washington, and journeyed from his Illinois home fettered, indeed, not like the vanquished Black Hawk, with iron chains and manacles but by trea- son, calumny, intrigue and suspicion. The decade which followed Captain Lincoln's attempt at politics was not without results. It embodied flat-boating, store-keeping, debts, sur- veying, postmaster, the law, politics, four terms in the legislature, several love affairs of varying intensity, and finally matrimony. For the background of his achievements of the first decade in Illinois, we must go back to his last decade in Indiana, for, all in all, Lincoln was a Hoosier. The phenomenal thing about Lincoln was his constant intellectual growth. His was an untiring quest of knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and that quest, which became so useful in later years, originated in early Indiana. No biographer from Herndon to Beveridge Mary Todd Lincoln 17 ever knew enough about early Indiana History to write an adequate biography of the adolescent Abraham Lincoln. We must not take the sarcas- tic Baynard R. Hall's "New Purchase" nor Ed- ward Eggleston's humorous "Hoosier School Mas- ter" nor yet James Whitcomb Riley's amusing dialect as indicative of the intelligence of primi- tive Indiana. The decade preceding Lincoln's re- moval to Illinois was remarkable for its growth and learning. I pray your indulgence for the time I am con- suming in picturing early Indiana and rebuilding the elements of Lincoln's youthful environment. It is these early days, of our state and our great president which our historians have so grievously distorted. Unfortunately, these distortions have become the accepted conceptions. Their incon- sistencies are apparent. No woman of the culture and refinement of Mary Todd could have been drawn to the shallow uncouth Lincoln of the glib, pot-boiler, Emil Ludwig; nor to the unwashed ignoramus of Edgar Lee Masters, nor yet to the Lincoln of Beveridge's diatribes. When Indiana was admitted as a state there were only thirteen organised counties all adjacent to the Ohio and Wabash Rivers. The Indian vil- lage, Kekiongay, on the Maumee, had long ago become the enterprising town of Fort Wayne, but it was still isolated in unorganized territory. 18 The Tragic Career of The Ohio River was a great highway of com- merce but even more so a great highway of intelli- gence and intellectual enterprise. Much of Lincoln's youth was spent on this river. Up and down this stream traveled many of the great minds of the world: Aaron Burr, Blen- nerhasset, Constantine Raffinesque, the eccentric naturalist, Audubon, the ornithologist, Daniel Drake, renowned Cincinnati physician and nat- uralist, O. M. Mitchell, pioneer astronomer west of the Alleghanies, Lafayette, when he visited America in 1824, Sir Charles Lyell, Harriet Mar tineau, De Tocqueville and others. The ubiquitous Johnny Appleseed, whose body lies buried in Fort Wayne, was planting his or- chards along the Ohio, from the Muskingum to the Wabash. The population was still too sparse for the fragrance of his apple blossoms to reach from settlement to settlement. However, the ec- centric but welcome Swedenborgian itinerant filled in the gap by his seasonal presence, carrying news and personal messages, thus making the Southern Indiana world a kin. In 1826, Robert Owen brought his "boat load of knowledge' ' down the Ohio and up the Wabash to New Harmony, which became the scientific out- post of the west. To New Harmony came nota- bles from all over the civilised world to confer with these eminent scholars: Thomas Say, father Mary Todd Lincoln 19 of American zoology, Maclure, the naturalist, Jo' seph Neef, disciple of Pestalossi, Gerard Troost, earliest American mineralogist, and the rest. Notable among these visitors were Joseph War' ren, social philosopher, the Duke of Saxe'Weimar, Sir Charles Lyell, the eminent English geologist, Harriet Martineau and Basil Hall, English travel' ers and commentators, and Maximillian, Prince of Wied, who spent an entire winter in New Har mony. He wrote a description of his travels and a commentary on the mammals of North America. In later years he published a synopsis of this latter work, a copy of which is in the possession of our learned fellow member, Dr. Marcus Lyon. Here also came De Tocqueville, the philosophic Frenchman who wrote his observations in that most searching analysis of our institutions — "Democracy in America." "New Harmony became the headquarters of the United States Geological Survey, with one of its own students, David Dale Owen, son of Robert Owen, in charge. New Harmony was the site of a museum containing the remarkable collections of Say and Maclure, and of a scientific library unex- celled on the continent/'' Here was published the New Harmony Gazette which Lincoln read carefully as he also did the Vincennes Sun and the Louisville Journal. "It was in certain of the New Harmony commu" 20 The Tragic Career of nities that women were first given a voice and vote in local legislative assemblages, and there the doc trine of equal political rights for all, without re' gard to sex or color, was first proclaimed by Frances Wright/ ' It is suggestive of Lincoln's Hoosier education that he made Frances Wright's declarations in the New Harmony Gazette, part and parcel of his first political platform referred to at the beginning of this paper. Fourteen miles west from Lincoln's home lived Ratliffe Boone, second governor of Indiana and later U. S. congressman for many terms, who was known to the Lincolns in Kentucky days. His library was open to young Lincoln. Fourteen miles south on the Ohio River was Rockport, the county seat of Spencer County, where Lincoln attended court. Here he cultivated the friendship of Judge John Pitcher, whose well selected library was also open to the youthful reader. Lincoln was too shrewd a politician to air his early educational advantages, for frontier voters did not take kindly to candidates for office who lauded their own accomplishments. However, when he once confided to Leonard Swett that, back in Indiana, he had read every book he could get his hands on within a radius of fifty miles, he let slip a clue that his biographers should not have overlooked. Mary Todd Lincoln 21 When you shall have read Dr. Louis A. War- ren's forthcoming work on Lincoln in Indiana, you will be convinced that books were not so scarce in early Hoosierdom. At Rockport, Princeton, and other county seats Lincoln saw lawyers fight legal battles and listened to the oratorical emanations of good legal minds. Particularly was he impressed, as he stated years afterward, with an address to a jury by John A. Breckenridge, of Booneville. David Tur- nam, of Gentry ville, loaned him the Indiana Stat' utes and other legal tomes which he devoured assiduously. Lincoln, when eighteen years old, had acquired sufficient familiarity with legal procedure to be able to defend and win a suit against himself in Squire Pate's court over in Kentucky, across from the mouth of Anderson's Creek, where he operated a ferry. After this, at the invitation of Squire Pate, he frequently crossed the river and attended ses' sions of his court. On these trips he also busied himself reading the Kentucky statutes. When Lincoln was in Indiana there was intense activity in founding schools and colleges. Vin- cennes University opened its doors to students in 1816. Indiana University was founded in 1820, — Hanover College in 1827. The organization of Asbury, now De Pauw University, was projected in 1832. The same year Wabash at Crawfords- 22 The Tragic Career of ville, founded by four pioneer missionaries of the Presbyterian Church, James Thompson, John Steele Thompson, Edmund O. Hovey, and James Carnahan, received students at its beautiful sylvan campus. The itinerant clergy, some of whom were, or were to become eminent divines, were no small part of the intellectual life and educational urge of Southern Indiana in Lincoln's Hoosier days. Rev. Henry Little, maternal grandfather of Dr. Edward H. Griggs, well known lecturer, was a scholarly Campbellite preacher widely known and of great influence. The great Methodist Bishop Roberts, after a life of toil and triumph on the Southern Indiana cir- cuit, died and was buried in a cornfield. He was later re-interred in the grounds of De Pauw Uni- versity, which institution he had been instrumental in establishing. Peter Cartwright, who defeated Lincoln in his first race for office in 1832 and was to be his po- litical antagonist for a score of years, but who became one of his strongest defenders during the Civil War, was not new to the nascent politician of the Sangamon. This redoubtable Jacksonian Democrat's circuit riding had for years extended eastward over the Wabash, into the Lincoln coun- try in Indiana. During the Civil War, no one stood higher in Mary Todd Lincoln 23 the confidence of Abraham Lincoln than Henry Ward Beecher, Dr. Gurly and Bishop Ames, the last named, widely conversant with the slave ques- tion. All these clergymen were from early Indian- apolis but before this they had been circuit riders in Southern Indiana, and well known to Lincoln. Indiana — up to the last decade — has had a long line of learned and distinguished governors. The first six of these namely, Jonathan Jennings, Rat' lifFe Boone, William Hendricks, James Brown Wray, Noab Noble, whom Beecher designated as "Noble by name and Noble by nature" and Da- vid Wallace, father of Lew Wallace, all stumped Southern Indiana and were models for Lincoln in his political aspirations. Among the outstanding stump speakers of In- diana, inclusive of the governors already men- tioned, were: Thomas Posey, Christopher Har- rison, Gen. John Carr, Mark Grume, Dr. John W. Davis, Oliver H. Smith, Andrew J. Wiley, — as- tronomer and first President of Indiana University, Judge Isaac Blackford, Dr. Israel T. Canby, Har- bin H. Moore, John Tipton, Dan Lynn, Frederick Rapp and scores of others, too numerous to men- tion. The enterprising young Lincoln came in con- tact with all of these and in his official life after- ward had occasion to refer to their activities. That he himself had been well known is proved by the 24 The Tragic Career of fact that when in 1844 he stumped Southern In- diana for Clay, he was received with acclaim as an old friend and citizen, and in turn he was able to recognise and call by name many prominent persons in his audiences. The Southwestern Indiana Historical Society, under the leadership of such enthusiasts as John Barker, of Booneville, Mrs. Kate Ehrman, of Rockport, and the venerable, vivacious Judge John E. Iglehart, of Evansville, is piling up evidence on evidence that Abraham Lincoln left Indiana a thoroughly sophisticated and well educated young man. I have thus, of necessity, but as briefly as pos- sible, detailed these few facts about Lincoln's en- vironment and intellectual development during his Indiana years from 1816 to 1830, because his biographers have invariably misrepresented his true status as a Hoosier and have asserted an incon- gruity in his marriage to the cultured Mary Todd. There was nothing phenomenal nor incongruous about this alliance. It was an intellectual match. Moreover, there is plenty of evidence that there was love and devotion from the beginning of their ardent, though sometimes stormy courtship, to the very end of their days. Both had Revolutionary and Indian-fighting ancestors. They were both supremely intellectual. Both cherished ambitions and high ideals. Both were deeply versed in poli- Mary Todd Lincoln 25 tics and statecraft. Both were ardent disciples of Henry Clay and last, but not least, both were deeply concerned in the Whig faith, for in those days people took their religion and their politics seriously. Miss Todd came to Springfield from Lexington, Kentucky, the Athens of the west — the seat of Transylvania University, and other renowned edu' cational institutions. She came to make her home with her sister, Elisabeth, who, at sixteen years of age, had married Ninian Edwards when he was a junior at Transylvania. This young man, a son of Governor Edwards, when first visited by Mary Todd at Springfield, had become attorney general of Illinois. Mary Todd was the daughter of Robert Smith Todd, a citizen of dignity, probity and honor — and a man of many and diverse affairs, high in the counsels of the Whig party in Kentucky. Her grandfather, Gen. Levi Todd, was the only field officer at the battle of Blue Licks who was not killed. Her great/uncle, John Todd, was the first governor of what later became Illinois, and was present with George Rogers Clark in 1778 at the capture of Kaskaskia and Vincennes. On the side of her mother, Ann Eliza Parker, her ancestry was scarcely less distinguished. She traced her descent from Gen. Andrew Porter of the Revolution. Her great-uncles, George B. Por- 26 The Tragic Career of ter, territorial Governor of Michigan from 1829 to the time of his death in 1834, James Madison Porter, Sec'y of Navy under President Tyler, and David R. Porter, Governor of Pennsylvania, were all men of note. Mary Todd's academic career was begun in Ward's celebrated Preparatory School, and fin' ished in Madam Mentelle's renowned Academy, just on the outskirsts of Lexington, opposite Ash' land, Henry Clay's home. She was a brilliant pupil and a diligent student. She developed a tal' ent for languages which was exceptional. She spoke French fluently and with such purity as to surprise those who had the native Parisian tongue. The French classics were her choice reading but beyond this there was a wide range in her taste. A writer, who was familiar with the Springfield home of the Lincolns, has described her as reading aloud evenings while her husband sat by the hour, with his chair propped against the wall, his feet comfortably encased in the large slippers on which Mary Todd had embroidered the initials "A. L." Moreoften, however, it was Lincoln who read aloud while the devoted wife was the listener as she sat busy with her needle. Soon after Lincoln's marriage, Robert Smith Todd made a visit to Springfield. Upon return- ing home, he declared that he had four daughters in Springfield, and he was proud to say that each Mary Todd Lincoln 27 had married a gentleman of culture and distinc- tion. Mary Todd was a discerning student of men and affairs. Lexington was the center of slave activity from its mildest to its worst form, and there was no phase of the slave question with which she was not thoroughly familiar. The Todd residence on Second Street, still standing today, and the nearby Parker residence, were adjacent to the notorious Robard's slave pen. At Cheapside, the court house square of today, were the auction block and the whipping post which, by the time Mary Todd left Lexington, were being used with painful and increasing frequency. Slavery was the dominating political, social and moral question. Her father's house was the ren- dezvous for politicians and statesmen. She knew them all, — John Hunt Morgan, John C. Brecken- ridge, Vice-President with James Buchanan and candidate for President against Lincoln, Cassius M. Clay, Richard H. Menifee, and many others who later became prominent in national affairs or the victims of pro-slavery domination. These were about her age and were her playmates. A few of the older group were, Henry Clay, Robert Breck- enridge, Senator Crittenden, who had been best man at her father's second marriage, and Samuel B. Shy, grandfather of our talented Mrs. Violet Shy Parks, of Mishawaka. 28 The Tragic Career of When Miss Todd came to Springfield to reside, the ambitious western capital sat up and took no' tice. Here was a young woman who could talk politics and statecraft with the most expert. When she appeared at social gatherings, she was usually surrounded by such prominent profession' al and political characters as Judge David Davis, Stephen A. Douglas, John A. McClernand, Ly man Trumball, O. M. Hatch, Simeon Francis, editor of the Sangamon Journal, Newton Bate' man, state superintendent of public education, and her two cousins, Major John T. Stuart and Stephen T. Logan, successively early law partners of Abraham Lincoln. If there were striplings about, politically in' clined, such as Clark E. Carr, Henry B. Rankin or Ervin Chapman, they were sure to be drawn into the charmed circle. For this we may be thankful, because some of them lived to redeem the good name and nature of Mrs. Lincoln after the veno' mous froth and fusillade of words were dissipated. Biographers have had much to say about the numerous suitors at the disposal of Miss Todd, but I have yet to find one who had the temerity to set out, by name, any of this fancied multitude except, of course, Stephen A. Douglas and Abra' ham Lincoln. For brevity's sake, I shall give you Barton's dis- posal of the situation. Barton says: Mary Todd Lincoln 29 "Of her lovers, only two were of importance. One of them was the gay, brilliant Stephen A. Douglas, whom she rejected as a lover and re tained as a friend, and whom she still found use' ful for an occasional flirtation; and the other was the tall gaunt Abraham Lincoln. 1 '' "And she chose Abraham Lincoln.' ' I do not think that there ever was any consid' erable personal animosity between the Lincolns and Stephen A. Douglas. Their differences, though at times intense, were purely political, and their relations outside of long political opposition were, at least, not hostile. Lincoln and his wife in later years always referred respectfully to Doug- las as Judge Douglas or Senator Douglas, while one of Douglas's oft repeated pleasantries concern- ing his tall antagonist was, that — "Of all the damned Whig rascals about Springfield, Abe Lin- coln is the ablest and the honestest." No statesman ever had a more comprehensive understanding of any major controversy than did Abraham Lincoln of slavery. In the development of this profound knowledge, Mrs. Lincoln played a paramount part. Lincoln's sources of familiarity with this grave, moral and political question were, of course, numerous and varied. His childhood days in Kentucky were tinctured with revulsion towards the evil system. By the ordinance of 1787 as well as by the first 30 The Tragic Career of constitutions of Indiana and Illinois, slavery was forbidden in these two states of Lincoln's adop- tion. Yet for decades negroes were actually held in bondage in these two commonwealths. Slave litigation was dragging through the courts. Slave- catching and negro-stealing were exciting the pop- ulation. Travelers from foreign countries, De Tocque- ville, Lyell, Dickens, Mrs. Martineau and the rest, were writing about slavery in American period- icals, many of which found their way to the well filled reading table of the Lincoln home at Eighth and Jackson Streets. Lincoln's great Cooper-Union speech, his masterpiece of logic, was the consum- mation of years of thought and browsing in the state library. But of all the sources of knowledge which Lincoln had at his command, none wrought so powerful an influence over him as did the little help-mate who was reared in affluence in the midst of the accursed system. Lincoln, before his marriage, had made Joshua Speed a visit in his Louisville home which may or may not have colored his view of slavery. How- ever, after his marriage he made three prolonged visits with Mrs. Lincoln to Lexington, where slavery affected him profoundly. In 1847, Mrs. Lincoln and the children accom- panied him to her paternal home where he was a keen observer of the system for weeks before he Mary Todd Lincoln 31 went on to Washington to take his seat in the House of Representatives. Mrs. Lincoln's father died July 16, 1849. It became incumbent on Lincoln to take part in the settlement of Mr. Todd's estate, and together the Lincolns again sojourned in Kentucky for four weeks. At this time the wildest excitement pre' vailed over slavery throughout Kentucky. Here it was the most probable, as Townsend says, that Lincoln came to the conclusion that interference with slavery, where it was already established, did not mitigate its evils nor tend to solidify sentiment against even gradual emancipation. In the spring of 1850 the Lincolns again made a trip to the Blue Grass Capital. They had suf' fered, what was to them, the first tragedy of their married life. February 1st their four year old son, Eddie, died of diphtheria after a two weeks 1 illness. A few days later came the intelligence that Mrs. Lincoln's grandmother, the aged Mrs. Eliz,a' beth R. Parker, had died January 26th. "Shaken and disconsolate in their first great sor' row, seeking escape from surroundings that con' stantly reminded them of their little son, Mary and her husband took advantage of business in connection with the settlement of the Parker es' tate and came back to Lexington several weeks after Eddie's death." In all of these visits to Lexington, Lincoln and 32 The Tragic Career of his wife contemplated the growing evils of slavery. Strange to say, no writer before Townsend seems to have noted two of the most vital factors in Lincoln's conception of slavery. Namely, his own observation of the evil in a community deeply steeped in it, and the fixed conclusion of Mrs. Lincoln, based on her environment and discussion with eminent statesmen of her day. Students of Lincoln's life must be deeply indebt- ed to Mr. Townsend, this young Lexington law- yer, for writing so vividly and reliably on this phase of Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln's career. Mary Todd Lincoln was a born politician. No other American woman ever had so much to do with bringing her husband to the highest office in the gift of the people as did Mrs. Lincoln. From her childhood to the time she became mistress of the President's Mansion, "on to the White House" was ever her slogan and the world has never yet been told the full story of the persistency, wisdom and efficiency with which she accomplished her purpose. Katherine Helm, niece of Mrs. Lincoln, has re- corded in her book, "Mary, Wife of Lincoln," the girlish prattle of Mary Todd in which she ex- pressed her ambition to live in the White House. Galloping out to the Clay Mansion on her re- cently acquired trick pony one day, this vivacious youngster brought the gallant Harry of the West, Mary Todd Lincoln 33 with six eminent statesmen, from his dinner table to an inspection of the pony's virtues, and in turn received an invitation from Mrs. Clay to join the distinguished company at dinner. "Seated by her hero she was blissfully happy listening with absorbed interest to the political discussion which animated the voices and faces of the diners.' ' "During a lull, she exclaimed suddenly, "Mr. Clay, my father says you are the best judge of horse-flesh in Kentucky and I just had to bring my beautiful pony out for your inspection. My father bought him of those strolling players who were stranded here. Don't you think his tricks are wonderful?" "Mr. Clay, my father says you will be the next President of the United States. I wish I could go to Washington and live in the White House. I begged my father to be President but he only laughed and said he would rather see you there than to be President himself." "Well," laughed Mr. Clay, "if I am ever Presi- dent I shall expect Mary Todd to be one of my first guests. Will you come?" "Mary accepted with enthusiasm." But this was not the route by which she was to arrive at the White House. For the tall, suave, compromiser never completed the course. In later life, she wrought better when she transferred 34 The Tragic Career of her hopes and energies to the sprightly tallsyca- more of the Sangamon. Few have appreciated either the capacity or the versatility of Mary Todd Lincoln. She was un- failing in the domestic share of her responsibilities. She was the frugal wife who reared the children; who tutored her eldest son for Harvard; who dis- cussed the events of the day with outstanding Illinois statesmen. When Lincoln was on the circuit, other lawyers ran home at week ends. Lincoln stayed out with Judge Davis. Distances were too great for the busy corpulent jurist to ride back and forth, so Lincoln stayed with him, transacting legal business and fixing up his political fences. These absences were borne philosophically by Mrs. Lincoln be' cause Lincoln was making strong political alli- ances, which later became valuable in his sena- torial and presidential campaigns. In 1853, when President Filmore offered Lincoln the governorship of Oregon Territory, Major Stuart and other warm political friends advised him to accept. Lin- coln put it up to Mrs. Lincoln, who promptly vetoed it. She saw in it a disastrous diversion. She cherished the friendship of Mr. and Mrs. Simeon Frances and had access to the editorial rooms of the Illinois State Journal which privilege she used on occasion much to Lincoln's advantage. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates she stayed pa- Mary Todd Lincoln 35 tiently at home providing rest, comfort and cheer for her husband when not out on the hustings. She looked carefully after his health and the con' servation of his energy throughout this terrific struggle. When Lincoln received the telegram anouncing his nomination at the Chicago Convention in 1860, he said to his delighted friends, "There is a little woman down on Eighth St. that will want to know about this.'" Off he went towards his home receiving congratulations from other friends along the way. Before he reached his home, a second and confirmatory telegram was handed to him by a messenger boy who had hastened after him. Joyously he entered his home, where he and Mrs. Lincoln were alone to rejoice over the news. This must have been to Mrs. Lincoln the supreme moment of her life. With the democratic party hopelessly split, this nomination was tantamount to election. The days between Lincoln's election and their journey to the Nation's capital were busy ones for Mrs. Lincoln as well as for the President-elect. Lincoln was much of the time closeted with poli' ticians, campaign managers, and prospective office seekers. The construction of his cabinet was of paramount concern. For awhile he received call' ers in the State House, but finally in order that he might write his inaugural address, and attend 36 The Tragic Career of to other urgent matters, Mr. Smith, his brother 'iiv law, gave him secluded quarters in an upper story over his place of business. Mrs. Lincoln, as usual, entertained the numer- ous visitors, looked after the affairs of the house' hold, persisted in bringing Lincoln to his meals regularly and prepared for the party or levee to be given before they left Springfield. These bustling days of preparation and farewell in Springfield; — what a drama of transition they represent! What a fruitful epoch they closed! What a momentous epoch they introduced. How eagerly they must have been passed by Mary Todd Lincoln, now a brilliant, quixotic woman of forty three years. How little could she have apprehend' ed the portent of the journey to Washington, and the swiftness with which fate was to change her triumph of fulfillment to the ashes of despair. High noon, March 4, 1861, the Presidentelect with the aged Chief Justice Taney and the clerk of the United States Supreme Court walked slow- ly to the front of the platform erected at the east portico of the Capitol for the inaugural ceremo- nies. In his left hand he held a large, gold headed cane. Mrs. Lincoln and Senator Douglas were seated in waiting at the front of the platform. Taking the manuscript of the inaugural address from his breast pocket, he laid it with the cane on a little rickety table. As he glanced about for a Mary Todd Lincoln 37 more suitable place to put his hat, the short, sturdy- arm of Stephen A. Douglas reached forward and relieved him of it. Then while Lincoln delivered one of the masterpieces of English prose, the "Lit- tle Giant" sat and listened attentively, nodding his shaggy head in approval, holding "Old Abe's" tall, shiny, new hat on his lap all the while. At last these three resolute hearts throbbed in unison for a common purpose and that purpose was to save the Nation. The ceremonies over, Mary Todd Lincoln went to the White House. "Her childish dream had become real," — her ambition of many years was justified. Douglas went to Lincoln and said: "Mr. President, what can I do to uphold you in this momentous crisis?" Lincoln replied: "Senator Douglas, you are the idol of the loyal northern Democracy. Go back home and tell the people what to do. They love you and have faith in you." Back to the west went the intrepid Douglas, entering on a new role likely to be the most useful of his long brilliant career. Day and night he spoke for the Union, to immense audiences in scores of places from Cincinnati to Chicago, where he made his last impassioned speech in the crowd' ed Wigwam, the very place in which Lincoln had been nominated, only a year before. Vilified and traduced by the slavocracy whom he had done so 38 The Tragic Career of much to placate, and for whom he had sacrificed his own great ambition to become President, he sank exhausted from his patriotic labors and on June 3rd the White House was draped for him in mourning. In the Executive Mansion, Mary Todd found herself regarded in the North as an interloper and in the South as an apostate. She was surrounded by spies, traducers and snobs. Mrs. Zachariah Chandler, whose husband had vaulted from De- troit shop-keeper to the United States Senate, headed a self-appointed committee to show Mrs. Lincoln the social way. This was justly but not tactfully resented, and the Chandlers were hostile toward the Lincolns ever after. The capital was dangerously situated in slave- holding Maryland — Baltimore reeking with seces- sion, and rebellion. Across the Potomac was Vir- ginia with her arrogant and belligerent slavocracy. Men distrusted each other and the city was in imminent danger of invasion. Treason lurked in every corner and spies at every keyhole of the gov- ernmental departments. In the Lincoln household it was promptly de- cided best that in order to relieve Mrs. Lincoln of irritation from scurrilous letters and to thwart ac- cusations of disloyalty, all her mail — even her in- timate personal correspondence, should be opened for her. To this duty was assigned William O. Mary Todd Lincoln 39 Stoddard, one of Lincoln's secretaries. All White House telegrams, of course, came through the War Office and were there dealt with as thought best. Mrs. Lincoln had had a foretaste of coming tragedies when she was told at Harrisburg of the plot to assassinate the President-elect at Baltimore and that he was to be conducted secretly to the Capitol. She became panic stricken and by her excitement came very near revealing the Pinker- ton plan. Lincoln was placed in charge of the massive Ward Lamon, who was armed to the teeth with almost every conceivable minor weapon of attack and defense. Mrs. Lincoln was placed in charge of Norman B. Judd. Both of these escorts were lawyer friends of the Lincolns. Needless to say Judd had the harder task of the two. Among Mrs. Lincoln's first heartaches came a realisation that most of the intimates of her youth, even her own Kentucky kinsfolk, must espouse the rebel cause. The rich Blue Grass country was a hot bed of secession. The vitriolic Cassius M. Clay and the venerable but forceful Robert Breckenridge, son of John Breckenridge, Attorney General in Jefferson's cabinet, were about the only outstanding belligerents for the Union cause in Lexington. The members of the Todd family, resident in 40 The Tragic Career of Kentucky, though all had been emancipationists, were now, with but two exceptions, warmly sup- porting the new Confederacy. Mrs. Lincoln's oldest brother, Levi, an invalid, who died before the war ended, was for the Union, as was also her half sister, Mrs. Margaret Kel- logg. But her youngest brother, George, and three half-brothers, Samuel, David, and Alexan- der, had promptly joined the Rebel Army, while her half-sisters, Emile Helm, Martha White and Elodie Dawson, were the wives of Confederate officers. In April Mrs. Lincoln's youngest sister, Emile Todd Helm, and her husband, were guests at the White House. Ben Harden Helm had graduated at West Point with the Class of '51. His father, Ex-Governor Helm, was a strong Union man. The young officer had become a great favorite of the President. Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln both hoped to keep him enlisted in the cause of the govern- ment that had educated him in the science of war. Lincoln offered his young brother-in-law a com- mission as Pay Master in the United States Army, with the rank of Major. In the War Department is this record: "Helm, Ben Harden, nominated for Pay Master in the U. S. Army, April 27th, 1861. Declined." Helm had had an interview with the traitor- ous Col. Robert E. Lee — the pampered, Tidewa- Mary Todd Lincoln 41 ter Virginian. Hence, the word "Declined" in the record. After the battle of Bull Run, David Todd was made commandant of a Richmond prison. In con' sonance with the cruel system of rebel prison man' agement, his conduct when related north by es' caped or exchanged prisoners, fed the rumors of disloyalty against Mrs. Lincoln and brought her profound distress. Feb. 20, 1862, their third son, William Wal- lace Lincoln, age eleven years, died at the White House after a brief illness. Willie was a youth of great promise and his death, the second tragedy of their domestic life, cast deep gloom over both Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln. The bloody battle of Shiloh began on Sunday morning, April 6th, 1862. Grant's army was surprised, and by night was driven in a huddled mass to the very banks of the Tennessee. Before Monday morning, however, came reinforcements. Lew Wallace's Corps had at last found their way to Shiloh. The fresh troops of Buell and Nelson had come by forced marches from Nashville in time to attack the rebels at daybreak. The Con' federates were driven back and still further back, leaving their dead on the field to be buried with grim and hasty funeral rites by Grant. Among these dead were Mrs. Lincoln's brother, Sam. There was exultation for a Union victory but 42 The Tragic Career of sorrow for the stricken little "Lady of the White House. " Amid the rejoicings of the entire North, Mrs. Lincoln must mourn in silent seclusion lest her traducers find in her sorrow a passion for the secession cause. The year 1863 brought to devoted and loyal Mary Lincoln the fullest measure of physical and mental suffering. In June Mrs. Lincoln, while riding with the President to the Soldiers' Home, was violently thrown from her carriage and severe ly injured by her head striking a stone. Her re" covery, at first despaired of, was at best slow and painful. The President was greatly alarmed and watched over her tenderly and anxiously. By mid-summer the Confederacy had reached its zenith of confidence and arrogance. But after Gettysburg, July 4th, Lee was in full retreat southward. On the same natal day, Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to Grant. In Lincoln's words, 'The Father of Waters again flowed un- vexed to the sea." A minor but significant por- tion of this grandiose southern strategy was Mor- gan's raid into Indiana and Ohio. Morgan's three thousand troopers were scattered and General John Hunt Morgan, of Lexington, Kentucky, became a prisoner in the Columbus, Ohio, penitentiary. The North was again exultant but Mary Lin- coln on her bed of pain could not be expected to be cheerful. In spite of watchful precaution it Mary Todd Lincoln 43 came to her that her brother, David, who had been promoted from the prison pen at Richmond to a command in Pemberton's army, was shot through the lung and mortally wounded in the siege of Vicksburg. In August, and before she had recovered from the accident, another shock came to her. In a skirmish at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, her youngest brother, Alexander, was killed. Though an officer on the staif of General Ben Harden Helm, he was only twenty-three, just a lit' tie older than Mrs. Lincoln's own eldest son, Rob- ert. In his babyhood, when the Lincolns visited Kentucky, he had been the darling of her heart, her loving, fiery red headed baby brother, Alex. Again her distressed and sympathetic husband found it difficult to comfort her. September 19-20 occurred the battle of Chicka- mauga — a disastrous Federal defeat and but for the lion-hearted Thomas, 'The Rock of Chicka- mauga," it would have been a total rout. Here was a double blow; for Mrs. Lincoln was loyal to the core. At Chickamauga, General Ben Harden Helm was killed — Helm, whom the President and his wife had tried so zealously at the beginning of the war to keep on the Union side. In her recent book already referred to, Elizabeth Helm, Mrs. Lincoln's niece, devotes a touching chapter to the 44 The Tragic Career of circumstances connected with the death of Gen- eral Helm. Like the wives of many southern generals, Emile Todd Helm, followed the movements of her hus- band, keeping near him as the strife wore on, and thus, after Chickamauga, found herself beyond the Union lines. General Helm lay buried at Atlanta and she wished to return north to her children. She secured a military pass, but at the frontier was detained. The President was telegraphed, asking what to do with her. Lincoln responded: "Send her to me." When she reached the Execu- tive Mansion there followed days of deep sorrow. Not since the death of Willie had there been felt such desolation. Day after day the two sisters wept in silent embrace. Lincoln understood and sympathised. Their emotion was too deep for vo- cal comfort. With returning physical health, Mrs. Lincoln busied herself in various ways to shake off the many lesser emotional traumas. She visited the hospitals, of which there were about thirty-five in Washington by the summer of 1864. Although naturally of a warm, sympathetic nature, she was not of the disposition to feel lightly the resentment against her that had developed among the soldiers during Col. David Todd's incumbency as a rebel prison keeper. Mary Lincoln was never a coward. Her "in- Mary Todd Lincoln 45 herited instinct from her Indian'fighting ancestors was ever fired at the prospect of battle." On that fateful Sunday night after Bull Run in '61, when McDowell's panic-stricken troops were surging into the Capitol, expecting momentarily to be overtaken by Beauregard's hosts, she was urged by General Scott to flee. She did not budge — declaring that where the President stayed she would stay. Now again in July, 1864, when Early's thirty thousand rebels were advancing through Maryland on their fruitless mission to capture Washington, she was urged to leave the city. Again she refused to abandon the President and together they went to the battle front. On the 11th there was a brisk assault by the rebels on Fort Stevens, one of the strong but poor' ly garrisoned fortifications around Washington. The Lincolns received a baptism of fire. Only a few feet from where Lincoln stood a Federal sup geon was killed. From City Point, General Wright had arrived with his division of veterans in the nick of time to engage the enemy and save the situation. While the battle was raging, General Wright walked up to Lincoln and said: "Mr. President, you are the Commander'in'Chief of the Army and Navy, but I command on this field. You must get away from here." 46 The Tragic Career of Did it ever occur to you that Lincoln was the only President that was ever under fire of an en- emy army while in that office, to say nothing of a President and his wife? As Lincoln's first term was drawing to a close he, of course, desired renomination. So did Mrs. Lincoln. A political contest always brought her to her feet. She was again cheered and gratified by support from Lexington. And as four years ago, Robert Breckenridge and the resolute Cas- sius M. Clay both strenuously upheld Lincoln and the Union. Breckenridge, aged but fiery, was made temporary chairman of the National Union Con- vention at Baltimore, June 6th. He was the most striking figure in that assembly. He made one of the most eloquent and patriotic addresses ever made before a political convention. His fervid logic and ringing eloquence brought the assembly to its feet time after time. When the old patri- arch closed his great keynote speech, all semblance of doubt among the wavering delegates was dissi- pated and Lincoln's renomination was assured. The vicissitudes of that campaign were keenly felt at the White House. Intense and bitter were the personal and political slurs cast upon the Presi- dent and Mrs. Lincoln. In the theatre of war the rebels stubbornly held the inner lines. Early in July a rebel army nearly captured the outposts of Washington by the oft trodden Shenandoah trail. Mary Todd Lincoln 47 Chambersburg was burned by McCausland July 30th. Pennsylvania, the stronghold of Lin' coin's support, was wavering. Her commercial interests were jeopardized. This feeling was also dominant in other northern centers of trade. New York was deeply disgruntled, then as now always alien to law and morals. "Her conscience choked with cotton, her mouth kankered with gold," her southern trade blighted, — why continue Lincoln's foolish war? The foreign slave trade which had been illicit since 1808, always nested in New York, was at last obliterated by the blockade. Here was a species of bootlegging alone aggregate ing $17,000,000 a year, knocked into a cocked hat. Indeed, New York was deeply aggrieved. Why not capitulate to the slavocracy and have peace? The war was being declared a failure. PetU' lent, disgruntled and intriguing politicians schemed to maneuver Lincoln off the ticket. But before the November elections the fates smiled on the Administration. There were Federal victories. Grant, the imperturbable, was tightening his strangle hold on Lee at Richmond and Petersburg. The intrepid Sherman had captured Atlanta, the gateway to the South. The dashing Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley had ruthlessly closed the back door to Washington against further inva' sion. The Emancipation Proclamation had been 48 The Tragic Career of assimilated into northern psychology. Moreover, it had staggered the slave power and had forever dispelled the possibility of foreign intervention. Triumph for the Union forces was assured and Father Abraham was sustained. With character- istic Hoosier humor he "allowed, the people did not care to trade horses while crossing the stream." Mrs. Lincoln was to remain mistress of the Execu- tive Mansion. By March 4, 1865, the Navy had closed all the Southern ports. The invincible Thomas had de- stroyed Hood's rebel army at Nashville. Sher- man had marched sixty thousand veterans, scarcely molested, from Atlanta to the sea, and turning northward toward Richmond, was carrying every- thing before him. Well could his great antagonist, General Joseph E. Johnston, declare: "Such an army, such a commander, never trod the earth since the days of Caeser." The end of the war was now plainly in view. Mary Todd Lincoln again sat on the improvised platform at the east end of the Capitol. Chase administered the oath. Taney had gone to his re- ward. Both of these renowned Chief Justices had given the President many vexations; Taney, with his brilliant legal mind benumbed by slavocratic domination; Chase, by intrigues while Secretary of the Treasury, but the great, patient Lincoln had mastered them both. Douglas was not present to Mary Todd Lincoln 49 manifest his approval. But Mary Todd Lincoln, if possible, was more in earnest with the affairs of the Nation than ever. Her heart thrilled with pride as the President, tall and gaunt, his features rugged and earnest, rose to deliver his second in' augural. Particularly did she exultantly acquiesce in the closing words — so touching and so memor' able: 'With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the Nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations. " Shortly after the inauguration, at Grant's invi' tation, the Lincolns spent ten days at headquarters of the Army of the Potomac. Their overstrained minds needed relaxation. Especially did they need to get away from the new influx of office seekers which invaded every nook and cranny of the White House. Their quarters were on the "River Queen" which had conveyed them up the James to City Point. Mrs. Lincoln rested and little Tad had the time of his life. Horace Porter in his sprightly volume, "Cam' paigning With Grant," reminisces minutely of this outing. Porter records some quixotic things which Mrs. Lincoln did; but in the main it was a pleas' 50 The Tragic Career of ant, restful vacation. There were headquarters dinners. There were reviews of the army and in' spections. On these occasions Tad on his pony, his little military cloak flapping in the breeze, was the busiest trooper of the cavalcade. The elements of the ludicrous were not lacking. The towering Lincoln, betopped with the familiar stove pipe hat, bestrode the General-in-Chief's big bay charger, "Cincinnati," while the stubby Grant himself rode his little pony, "Jeff Davis." Had these two riders exchanged mounts the situation would have been as risible. And thus remarking, the members of Grant's staff got much amusement out of the Presidential sojourn. One sunny afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln were given a ride along the James. They came to a wooded cemetery near the roadside. The Presi- dent directed the driver to stop. They got out of the carriage and strolled among the tombstones, the clustering foliage and the leafing trees. 'The world was lifting its bowed head from the long bereavement of winter." The scene was one to make the tired couple thoughtful. Mr. Lincoln said tenderly to his wife: "Mary, you are younger than I, you will outlive me. When I die I wish you to bury me in a quiet wooded place like this." To this simple request, a momentous sequel was to occur only too soon. On Saturday, April 1st, the River Queen Mary Todd Lincoln 51 steamed back to Washington, Tad and his mother and his pony on board, leaving the President be- hind. Grant had urged him to stay a few days longer and Stanton had seconded this request by a kindly urgent telegram from the War Office. Lin- coln decided to stay, declaring in spicy Hoosier vernacular, he "had a sneaking notion that things were going to happen. " And things did happen. Lee was making a last desperate effort to shake off the bull dog grip of Grant. Saturday, April 1st, the pitched battle of Five Forks — a resounding Union victory — marked the beginning of the final Confederate debacle. Sun- day, April 2nd, Richmond was evacuated and the truculent Jeff Davis, with his Cabinet, were fugi- tives, bag and baggage. The next day Lincoln walked about the abandoned rebel capital before returning to Washington. After an exciting one hundred mile race to cor- ral the fleeing army of Northern Virginia, attended by contacts and skirmishes at Burkeville, Amelia Court-house, Farmville, Jettersville, Sailor's Creek and Curdsville, Lee was finally brought to bay Sunday morning, April 9th, at Appomattox Court House. That Sunday afternoon the famous sur- render took place in the parlor of Wilmer Mc- Lean's brick house across the single street from the Court House. Here twenty-eight thousand three hundred and fifty-six starving rebel prison- LIBRARY - UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS 52 The Tragic Career of ers were fed and paroled. Johnson's army was not to capitulate until April 26th, but hostile ties were giving way to negotiations and the war was virtually over. The Lincolns back in Wash- ington were contemplating a surcease from the terrible trials of the past four years. They were trying to efface from their memories the crimson annals from Sumpter to Appomattox. On that last ride which they took on Good Friday, April 14th, they were mutual in their desire to ride alone and blithely talked of better days to come. Then came the great tragedy at Ford's Theatre! Who shall comprehend the volume or fathom the depth of suffering that overwhelmed the already overwrought Mrs. Lincoln as she sat moaning all night in the little front room of the Peterson house across the street from Ford's? Saturday morning, April 1 5, at twenty 'two min' utes after seven o'clock, Lincoln expired. Between the sobs and shrieks of the distracted woman, the commiserating Stanton was heard to declare, "Now he belongs to the Ages!" Some kind soul might truly have uttered the same noble sentiment in regard to Mary Todd Lincoln. It is hardly a figure of speech to say that the bullet that sped on its way to take the life of the President also took the life of Mary Todd Lincoln. From that mc ment, her submerged pathological mentality be' came apparent. Mary Todd Lincoln 53 "The shock of this great culminating blow shat- tered the last of Mary Lincoln's reserve force, already so weakened by former losses and repres- sions. Her collapse was complete." Little Tad never left her and in him she now centered all the life and hope she had left. In the long sad seventeen years that followed there were exacerbations of complete mental aliena- tion. They were to be years of abuse, anguish and isolation. Mrs. Lincoln was physically and mental- ly too sick to note the Nation's demonstration of grief, or to attend the last funeral rites at Spring- field in May. "Even the shocking tragedy of her husband's murder did not protect Mary Todd Lincoln from situations in which she displayed herself at a dis- advantage. When it was determined to convey the body of Lincoln back to Springfield, a meeting was held in that city." A committee was chosen and a site was selected for his tomb. The bizarre populace of that ambitious capital had in mind a plaza of four city blocks, between the west front of the old Capitol and the Alton Railroad, where the new State House now stands. What could be more enticing than a beautiful monument in this public place in the very heart of the city? 'The land was owned by a family named Ma- ther, who agreed to sell it for the purpose. A 54 The Tragic Career of vault was erected, men working day and night to have it ready for occupancy when the body should arrive it was later to be veneered with mar- ble." But Mrs. Lincoln made emphatic protest against interment at such a public place. Had not her husband only a few weeks before in the cemetery back on the James in Virginia said: "Mary, you are younger than I. You will outlive me. When I die I wish you to bury me in some quiet wooded place/ ' Had she not pledged her acquiescence to this emphatic request? But scarcely anybody in Springfield could give the sorrowing widow any credit for doing the right thing. A bitter controversy ensued over what was termed her obstinacy. She would not allow the body to be placed in the partly finished tomb. The Association consented that Lincoln's body should be placed in the public receiving vault at the beautiful new wooded Oak Ridge Cemetery, a mile north of Springfield, but only as a temporary necessity. The city was determined to bring Mrs. Lincoln to her senses and proceeded with the work of embellishing their prised structure, thinking she would ultimately yield. But they were mistaken. Mrs. Lincoln went to Chicago and took rooms for herself, Robert and Tad, at the Tremont House. June 5th, she wrote the Springfield Monument Mary Todd Lincoln 55 Association that, unless within ten days she had the positive pledge that the tomb and monument should be at Oak Ridge, and not on the Mather plaza, she would positively remove the body and take it back to Washington, to be buried under the dome of the Capitol in the empty tomb origin- ally constructed for the body of Washington, which was at her disposal. "The Association determined not to yield to her. It voted to send its President, Richard J. Oglesby, and its Secretary, O. M. Hatch, to Chi' cago. . . . Mrs. Lincoln learned through the papers of the Committee's approach, and refused to see them. Instead, she sent her son, Capt. Robert T. Lincoln, to meet them at the train. He sent them back to Springfield with a letter from her dated June 10th, 1865, saying that five of her ten days of grace had already gone, and unless she had the positive pledge of the Association that her de- mands were to be complied with, she would re- move the body." The Committee, fearing legal proceedings, yielded. She had kept the pledge made to her husband back in the secluded Virginia cemetery but this did not add to her list of friends. It now became the fashion to vocalize the pent up abuse always in store for herself and Lincoln. The erratic Herndon proceeded to prepare and deliver throughout the state a bombastic lecture 56 The Tragic Career of on Ann Rutledge which stung Mrs. Lincoln to the quick. It was unfortunate that the first meet' ing between Miss Todd and Billy Herndon back in the early Springfield days ended in a lasting disagreement between them. Otherwise the world would never have heard much of the Ann Rut' ledge affair. In congress Senator Sumner introduced the bill to give Mrs. Lincoln a pension of $5,000 a year. This brought on a nationwide controversy in both the Forum and the newspapers. The Republicans made a disgraceful political fight on the bill, which was exceeded in contumely only by the Democrats trying to profit from the affair. The bill was dc feated. At the next session of Congress, Senator Sumner again brought up his bill and again an acrimonious debate followed. The stalwart old senator from Massachusetts, his eyes suffused with tears, made a gallant appeal to Congress and the country to recognize the rights of the widow in distress. The bill, modified to $3,000, was finally passed by a bare majority. Years afterward, when Mrs. Lincoln's days were numbered, a pension bill of $5,000 was passed in favor of Mrs. Garfield. An amendment to the bill raised Mrs. Lincoln's pen" sion to $5,000. But she did not live to enjoy the benefit, for she died July 16, 1882. After the election in 1864, anticipating another Mary Todd Lincoln 57 term in official Washington, Mrs. Lincoln, though usually frugal, had made in New York extensive purchases of merchandise for home and personal adornment. The avaricious New York shopkeep- ers, true to form, had extended to her excessive credit, but now from her suddenly restricted in' come she could not meet the bills. They scandal' ously published her delinquency and joined in the chorus of denunciation. To be brief, her debts were finally adjusted and Mrs. Lincoln obsessed with a desire to travel, took Tad abroad, returning in the spring of 1871. She placed him in a school in London and the youth progressed satisfactorily with his education. On their journey home, Tad developed typhoid fever and died in Chicago, July 15, 1871. Eleven more dreary years of tragic sorrow awaited her. The episode of Mrs. Lincoln's final mental col' lapse, to which we now come, has been little un' derstood and I must present it with the most un' satisfactory brevity. "In the winter of 18 74' 5, she was in Florida. On March 12, 1875, she wired to the family phy- sician, Dr. Ralph Isham, imploring him to save Robert's life, telling him that she was taking a train for Chicago. Robert was not sick, and he and Dr. Isham met her at the train. 11 "She was shocked and overjoyed in finding Rob' ert alive and well, and soon grew cheerful and ani' 58 The Tragic Career of mated. " She talked pleasantly concerning her win- ter in Florida except for a fancied attempt made to poison her at Jacksonville, at which place she bought a cup of coffee and was confident that it contained poison. She went to the Grand Pacific Hotel and insisted that Robert should remain with her. "Robert remained in the hotel that night and subsequent nights, sleeping in the room next to that of his mother. Every night, and several times a night, she would rap at his door, and tell him she was in danger. Sometimes he had to finish the night sleeping on a lounge in her room; some- times she came in with him, and he gave her his bed and got what sleep he could on a couch. She wore him out, and did much the same for the chambermaids and other people in the hotel. An Indian, she said, was pulling wires out of her brain. The doctors were taking steel springs out of her head. People were trying to murder her." "The manager of the hotel and all who had to do with her became apprehensive, and wished for her removal to some more suitable place." "At length Robert felt compelled to apply to the County Court of Chicago to have her declared insane. No little care was taken to hide the rec- ords. When Mr. William E. Barton, in recent years, instituted a search for them, the oldest clerks in the office declared that such papers did Mary Todd Lincoln 59 not exist; subsequent investigation, however, re- vealed them. Mr. Barton was one of the first per' sons to see these papers after they were carefully hidden away without docket number. " "So far as records show, the sad thing was done as decently and with as much dignity as possible. Robert's lawyer was Leonard Swett, and Mary Lincoln's was Isaac N. Arnold — old friends of the Lincolns. Judge Wallace was on the bench. The complaining witness was, unfortunately but of necessity, the son, Robert. The jury was com' posed of twelve as prominent men as Chicago had at that time, including such men as Lyman J. Gage and Chas. B. Far well." "Mary Lincoln was found insane and a fit sub' ject for confinement in one of the State Hospitals for the Insane in the state of Illinois. She was not taken to a State Hospital, however, but to a private asylum at Batavia." 'The date of Mrs. Lincoln's first trial in which she was declared insane was May 19, 1875. She was in the sanitarium not quite thirteen months," after which she was brought into court and dc clared sane. That she was insane when commit' ted to Batavia admits of no doubt. That she was sane when released is conjectural. Again Mary Lincoln went abroad. She had become estranged from Robert. Part of the time he did not know her address. December, 1879, in 60 The Tragic Career of Frankfort, Germany, she suffered a severe injury to her spine by a fall from a step'ladder. With great difficulty she reached the home land. Across the Atlantic she was aboard the Amerique. On the same ship was Sarah Bernhardt, her man' ager and her troupe. An issue of the New York Sun in October, 1880, tells the story of how indif' ferently Mary Lincoln, who had been almost a queen, was received in her own country, — how she was touched on the shoulder by the police and told to stand back with the crowd while the divine Sarah was cheered to the echo and carried away triumphantly in Manager Abbey's carriage. That simple newspaper story should have stirred a national sense of shame. Sarah Bernhardt, never in all her career upon the stage, played so tragic a role as Mary Todd performed on that day. Mrs. Lincoln tarried in New York and con' suited Dr. Lewis A. Sayre, the eminent orthope' die surgeon. She felt improved and proceeded to Springfield to the home of her sister, Mrs. Ed' wards. It was the home in which she had first met Abraham Lincoln, the home in which they were married. She did not move among her old friends. She shut herself in her room, and hid herself as much as possible from her own kindred. She shut every window, and pulled down every shade. To the few friends who called on her she talked of the virtues of Abraham Lincoln. Mary Todd Lincoln 61 "Especially did she remember and repeat the story of their last ride together, the afternoon of the assassination. Their happy daydream then was of a trip to the Pacific Coast to see the min- ing of the gold that was to pay the national debt." She talked about the last words that fell from his lips that night in the box at Ford's Theatre when he expressed an animated desire for a trip to the Holy Land. Let us be thankful that she had this memory to brighten the horizon when her sun had gone down. When her stricken mind was at the nadir of melancholy, she talked of the stroll in the wooded cemetery back on the James in Virginia and the promise she had given to Lincoln. She talked of the shameful attack made on her by her old friends because she would not allow the Presi' dent's body to be entombed in the noisy barren plaza, with the Alton trains rattling by night and day. Robert T. Lincoln had not met his mother on the pier in New York. She had not forgiven him for sending her to the hospital. But after she had returned to Springfield, Mr. and Mrs. Robert T. Lincoln went down from Chicago and visited her in the old Edwards home. She sat in her deep mourning dress as they entered. They laid in her lap a baby, saying, "We have brought to you your granddaughter and name- sake, Mary Lincoln." She hugged the baby to 62 Mary Todd Lincoln her heart with maternal joy, and Robert was for' given. "So much, at least, it is good to know, that she did not die unreconciled to her eldest and only remaining son/'' The time has arrived when this noble woman should come into her own in American history. Her integrity of character, her intellectual endow ments, her patriotism, her loyalty to Abraham Lincoln and to the government during its greatest crisis, should immunize her from venomous biogra' phical fakers. In all the great affairs of their com' mon life, Abraham Lincoln and his wife stood to" gether — not shoulder to shoulder — for he was fif' teen inches taller than she — but heart to heart. "It may have been that gentle Ann Rutledge, or portly, complacent Mary Owens, or youthful, light-hearted Sarah Rickard could have endowed the tall Sycamore of the Sangamon with a richer measure of marital bliss, but never did a young wife bring to a husband, interested in statecraft and anxious for preferment, such wealth of first- hand information on a grave, moral and political subject — such fruits of intimate association with great public men of her day as did Mary Todd to Abraham Lincoln' ' — the greatest American of them all. I AM A MAN AND EVERYTHING HUMAN INTERESTS ME" THE ROUND TABLE SOUTH BEND. INDIANA <X^L sC^VZ" *&* <^r 7/nc / tf 3 o - 3 J 41 c asz**>c. 7 C- t^yi -&*> *us <^f st*s syrf /Yl> /aa^( /n*™/ ^u^^Ci ^t^sfC-^ y^ 'rf ^^A^^ctr dji^ <^&< ^^ - STL" 0c -fi^L <Zs*~Z~ COPYRIGHTED. 193 1 PEERLESS PRESS. INC. SOUTH BEND. IN D.